The Classics

  • Savings Bonds

    Savings Bond

    1942 - 1980

    The Savings (or War) Bonds campaign was not only the organization's first campaign, but also its most successful campaign to date. Begun in 1942 by the then War Advertising Council, the campaign encouraged Americans to support the war effort by purchasing war bonds.

  • Loose Lips

    Security of War Information - Loose Lips Sink Ships

    1942 - 1945

    The War Advertising Council's "Loose Lips Sink Ships" and "Keep it Under Your Stetson" public service ads reminding Americans of the dangers of revealing too much information are still remembered today. The campaign encouraged Americans to be discreet in their communication to prevent information from being leaked to the enemy during World War II.

  • Women in War Jobs

    1942 - 1945

    The most successful advertising recruitment campaign in American history, this powerful symbol recruited two million women into the workforce to support the war economy. The underlying theme was that the social change required to bring women into the workforce was a patriotic responsibility for women and employers.

  • Smokey Bear 1959

    Wildfire Prevention

    1944 - Present

    The longest running campaign in Ad Council history, Smokey Bear and his famous warning, "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires," was introduced to Americans in 1944. The Forest Fire Prevention campaign has reduced the number of acres lost annually from 22 million to 8.4 million (in 2000). 

  • Red Cross

    American Red Cross

    1945 - 1996

    The Ad Council worked with the American Red Cross on public service advertising campaigns for more than 50 years. The PSAs raised public awareness of the various services provided by the Red Cross. They helped recruit blood donors, enlist volunteers and raise funds. In fact, the ads helped to recruit 30,000 volunteers in just one month.

  • Polio


    1958 - 1961

    Although new horrors like AIDS have emerged, other diseases, such as polio, have all but disappeared. Advertising helped make this possible. Initially, the country responded very slowly to the new vaccine for paralytic polio. Three sets of shots were required at first, and it took an extended and repetitive advertising effort to get 80% of the at-risk populace fully immunized.

  • Pollution: Keep America Beautiful - Iron Eyes Cody

    1961 - 1983

    More than four decades ago, the Ad Council partnered with Keep America Beautiful to create a powerful visual image that dramatized how litter and other forms of pollution were hurting the environment, and how every individual has the responsibility to help protect it. The ad, which featured Native American actor Iron Eyes Cody, "The Crying Indian," first aired on Earth Day in 1971. 

  • Peace Corps

    1961 - 1991

    In 1961, many Americans didn't understand President Kennedy's Peace Corps program. To that end, The Ad Council and ad agency Young & Rubicam developed a campaign that captured the spirit and the nobility of purpose of the program. Ad agency Ted Bates & Co. created the slogan that conveyed its hardship and rewards -- "The Toughest Job You'll Ever Love." 

  • United Negro College Fund

    1972 - Present

    Launched in 1972 to encourage Americans to support the United Negro College Fund, this campaign has helped raise more than $2.2 billion and has helped to graduate more than 350,000 minority students from college or beyond. The slogan, "A Mind is a Terrible Thing To Waste," has become part of the American vernacular.

  • Crime Prevention - McGruff the Crime Dog

    1979 - Present

    More than twenty-five years ago, the National Crime Prevention Council and the Ad Council introduced McGruff the Crime Dog™ to the nation and began encouraging Americans to help "Take a Bite out of Crime™." 

  • Drunk Driving Prevention

    1983 - Present

    Since launching this campaign in 1983, more than 68% of Americans exposed to the advertising have tried to prevent someone from driving drunk. In 1998, America experienced its lowest number of alcohol-related fatalities since the U.S. Department of Transportation began keeping records. Campaign taglines have included: "Drinking & Driving Can Kill A Friendship" and "Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk."

  • Safety Belt Education

    1985 - Present

    The single most effective protection against death and serious injury in a car crash is the safety belt. Since Vince & Larry, the Crash Test Dummies, were introduced to the American public in 1985, safety belt usage has increased from 14% to 79%, saving an estimated 85,000 lives, and $3.2 billion in costs to society. 

  • AIDS Prevention

    1988 - 1990

    Launched in September of 1988, this groundbreaking ad was part of the first campaign to use the word "condom" in America. The ads informed Americans of the dangers of the AIDS virus and encouraged them to "Help stop AIDS. Use a condom."

  • Domestic Violence

    1994 - Present

    This campaign raised awareness of domestic violence by emphasizing that it affects everyone. The PSAs encouraged people to get involved in domestic violence prevention efforts and to intervene if they know someone in an abusive relationship.

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